Red Buckeye, Firecracker Plant

Aesculus pavia

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aesculus (ES-kew-lus) (Info)
Species: pavia (PAH-vee-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Atmore, Alabama

Cullman, Alabama

Daleville, Alabama

Pelham, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Huntington, Arkansas

Malvern, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Sherwood, Arkansas

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Miccosukee Cpo, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Danielsville, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia (2 reports)

Tunnel Hill, Georgia

Wheaton, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)

Nicholasville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)

Denham Springs, Louisiana (2 reports)

Greenwood, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Plain Dealing, Louisiana

Centreville, Maryland

Pembroke, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Carriere, Mississippi

Madison, Mississippi

Pontotoc, Mississippi

Piedmont, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Brooklyn, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

North Tonawanda, New York

Burlington, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Morehead City, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)

Marietta, Ohio

Williamsburg, Ohio

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Okatie, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina (2 reports)

Dickson, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Crockett, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Staunton, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 9, 2017, JennysGarden_TN from Collierville, TN wrote:

Aesculus pavia is growing well in my zone 7b garden. The hummies love the bright red flowers. It had just dispersed some huge seeds.


On Jan 8, 2016, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

An absolute must for any Southern woodland garden or preserve. The numerous qualities of this plant make it one of my favorite small native trees. It's exceptionally drought tolerant and has the one the most unique blooms which can last for weeks. The blooms truly resemble fire crackers!


On Jun 9, 2011, poorgeorge from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Alot of good information here, but I didn't see anyone talk about one of the reasons I grow the red buckeye. It is that the buckeyes are lucky. I always carry one or two in my pocket and I have always had lots of good luck. And that's no joke. Try it.


On Jan 27, 2011, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

Buckeyes greet us each spring with their red blooms . They are easy to grow from seeds here. I just drop them where I want them in late fall and let nature take its course. They do not like to have their roots disturbed so put them where you want to leave them.


On Apr 24, 2009, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got some seeds from a lovely DGer which germinated in about 2 months. Some of my seedlings are potted and some have been transplanted and will become understory trees. I am happy to have these because they are great hummer attractors.


On Apr 24, 2009, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This pretty plant grows throughout our east TX woods. I have admired them in many yards with their cheerful springtime blooms and decided to dig one up and place it in a shady area near the house.

Above, I have posted a photo of what I dug up. Amazingly, it did not seemed to wilt this plant. The blooms had been beaten off by a recent rain.

I was excited to read that this is the first of the bloomers to draw the hummingbirds. Bring them on!!!


On May 28, 2008, airam from Sandy, TX wrote:

I had seen red buckeye shrubs growing in the wild along a walking path. They were in full bloom at the time. I went back today to collect seeds. I could not find any on the ground but was able to harvest about a dozen from the plants. Should I have waited? The seeds are not open and I read that you should let them "mature " on the plant before taking them. Any info would be appreciated. What should I do with them at this point?


On Mar 4, 2008, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I only recently became familiar with the Red Buckeye as a result of my horticulture job with the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. There are several of the Red Buckeye trees growing in the native plant "Wild Florida" exhibit area. They are currently reaching their peak of bloom (March 3).

I gathered about 20 seeds from one of the trees at the zoo and am getting a few of them to germinate (expect more may germinate later). Most on-line sources I found suggested that the seeds needed to be cold-stratified (placed in a baggie of soil in the refrigerator for a few months). I was therefore surprised when I noticed a lot of seedlings around the parent tree. Our winters here are typically mild with only a few nights per year slightly below freezing. A coworker who has had a lot of... read more


On Feb 20, 2008, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Here in South Louisiana, this is always the first deciduous shrub to leaf out (usually buds out in late January) but it is also the first to lose its leaves in the early fall. Still, it is quite attractive and is scaled well for smaller gardens.


On Apr 19, 2007, passiflora_pink from Central, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Blooms when small. Attracts hummingbirds. A tough native tree for early spring color and wildlife value.


On Apr 15, 2007, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Red buckeye is an excellent plant for all the reasons mentioned above. The wonderful numerous red flowers early in the season; attractive to hummingbirds and insects; tolerant of a wide range of soils; not too big for most landscapes; all these are worth enough to use this plant more.

It doesn't have great fall color, and in fact tends to lose its leaves relatively early due to some foliar diseases in central KY heat and humidity. Use it toward the back of a mixed border planting rather than front and center as a specimen, and it won't let you down.

It has been pretty easy to germinate from seed. Key is to sow immediately and don't let the seed dessicate. Most buckeye seed needs to be treated this way for success. It will send out a root radicle in fall, ... read more


On May 22, 2006, barefootannie from Fort McCoy, FL wrote:

I am in Zone 9a , Ocala National doesn't Like The hot summer heat here ,But it's Been Hanging on for several years now! Definitely needs afternoon shade.


On Apr 17, 2006, wxmandan from Cato, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

Red Buckeye grows wild and somewhat prolific in the forest understory here in central Arkansas and puts on a nice show of red flowers in April.

On my rural property they are thriving quite well in light to somewhat heavy shade, and seem to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, from rocky hillsides to wet (but not swampy) lowlands.


On Mar 10, 2006, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Even though this plant grows well in my area, it is virtually impossible to find locally. After trying to find one locally for 5 years I gave up and I finally ordered online as bare root plants. Since I ordered them during a very cold period and our ground was still frozen when they arrived I potted them up and they started to bud out within a week. I am looking forward to seeing them bloom for the first time. Very good plant for early spring blooms and for our hummingbirds.


On Jan 6, 2005, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Red Buckeye is a Florida native understory plant found in mostly the northern two thirds of the state. Makes for a nice flowering shrub and attracts hummingbirds.


On Apr 29, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The red buckeye tree is not easy to find, I had wanted one for a long time but could not locate one and one day I went to the nursery and there it was, waiting for me. I took it home 4 years ago and it is now 10 feet tall
and in bloom. I love this tree because it is one of the very few with red flowers and I love red. I am trying to propagate by seed but they are very hard. I have found that if I bury the seed half way and lay it on its side it sprouts a lot better. Wish me luck.


On Mar 19, 2004, Tiarella from Tunnel Hill, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very easy to grow from seed. Collect the buckeyes as the casings are breaking open or gather from the ground and plant while they are FRESH. Plant in well drained soil with about an inch of soil over the buckeye. You'll have a new shoot in the spring. This tree (or shrub) has a really deep tap root, so plant the seed where you want the tree or plant it out after one year in a pot.

I purchased my first one from a native plant sale when it was about the height of my index finger. It grows quite quickly into a lovely small tree and is usually the first flower for the hummingbirds - blooming in March in zone 7.


On Apr 6, 2003, poorgeorge from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a very easy plant to grow. I'm in Rock Hill, SC and I brought my plant from Ga. about 5 yrs. ago. It was 1 ft and now it's 6 ft. An airy shrub that I grow for the flowers, foliage and especially the buckeyes, that when carried with you will bring good luck!


On Mar 13, 2003, woodland9 wrote:

A lovely plant, very early to bud out in spring. Attractive to Hummingbirds. Can be grown as a beautiful ornamental shrub in landscapes in full sun, but will grow equally well as an understory plant in the woods. Often found near streams.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grow in average, medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils. Can be grown from seed, and may flower as early as the second or third year.